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#1 of 26 Old 10-25-2011, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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told the students that:

1. Earthquakes are on the rise.

2. The current pope wants one world government.

 

(Keep in mind this was as reported by my 10 year old, so I'm checking on the accuracy here.)

 

Ds has a great teacher who is really motivating him to learn new things. But he seems to veering off in his anecdotes to sheer opinion. My suspicion is that he's considerably more conservative than we are (the only place I can find reference to the pope wanting one world government is on very conservative websites and blogs); dh thinks he's also into conspiracy theories.

 

Right now, I'm pretty livid -- the earthquake thing is sheer nonsense, as a quick look on the USGS website shows. The pope comment is more insidious and disturbing in my opinion, because it's leading the children to a world view that I definitely do not share.

 

Am I over-reacting?

 

 


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#2 of 26 Old 10-25-2011, 11:16 PM
 
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yes and no. 

 

yes i would be livid too. however in the realm of those kind of info i think it could have been worse.

 

i would use this info to help your dd understand the difference between fact and opinion (i get thrown this at my face everytime i make my opinions look like facts). 

 

however it seems like yes he is into the 2012 kinda reading. 

 

but in the whole realm of school life - no it would not really bother me. i'd just make sure i help dd figure out for herself what to think and when to doubt. 


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#3 of 26 Old 10-26-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

told the students that:

1. Earthquakes are on the rise.

2. The current pope wants one world government.

 

(Keep in mind this was as reported by my 10 year old, so I'm checking on the accuracy here.)

 

Ds has a great teacher who is really motivating him to learn new things. But he seems to veering off in his anecdotes to sheer opinion. My suspicion is that he's considerably more conservative than we are (the only place I can find reference to the pope wanting one world government is on very conservative websites and blogs); dh thinks he's also into conspiracy theories.

 

I think he is expressing a particular religious view (end days), than political  --  in any case, I'd be irked.
 

 


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#4 of 26 Old 10-26-2011, 08:41 AM
 
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I also would be more concerned about the comment about the pope than the earthquakes.

 

The earthquake comment is easy to correct. It's also possible that he said that more earthquakes are being detected and reported, since there is more equipment being used and more monitoring around the world. That kind of information could be misunderstood if he hasn't done a good job explaining or if students weren't paying attention. It wouldn't be too uncomfortable to broach it with the teacher, clarify what he taught and let him know what the students learned.  

 

It's more worrisome that he is purporting to give factual information about a religion and that he is providing a rather disturbing view of that religion. That's definitely worth following up.  

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#5 of 26 Old 10-26-2011, 09:52 AM
 
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 Lynn, the previous posters are pretty much confirming your instincts.  Yeah, not ok.
 

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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

The earthquake comment is easy to correct. It's also possible that he said that more earthquakes are being detected and reported, since there is more equipment being used and more monitoring around the world. That kind of information could be misunderstood if he hasn't done a good job explaining or if students weren't paying attention. 

:bag:

 

Sorry, can't resist. 

 

On the earthquakes.  Look at my username for credentials.  I'm not an earthquakes person, but I play one on TV with some frequency.

 

We've had a nearly global, complete record for mag >5.0 and up since the 50s.  Thank the Cold War for that - you use the same instruments to detect earthquakes as you use to detect nuke tests.  More seismometers around now are increasing the regions in which we have better coverage for smaller earthquakes, but it's the big ones that pack the most punch energywise.  So we've got a really good record for about 60 years.

 

Indeed, there have been more large/great earthquakes in the 21st century than in the previous 20 years.    There does seem to be a real "quiet" period in the period 1970-1990 or so.  That's based both in the number of large earthquakes, and in adding up the total energy released in those quakes.  A 20 year quiet period in a 60 year record is like saying that kids are getting noisier and more active these days when you are comparing their behavior at 8 am to the previous 8 hours.  Going back >100 years, the 1960s has had largest earthquakes (1960 Chilean eq and the 1964 Good Friday eq), and releasing more energy in those two events than in all earthquakes combined since.  So, if there was an end of days as marked by really spanking big earthquakes, it was May 22, 1960 when the Earth popped off a M9.5.

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#6 of 26 Old 10-26-2011, 10:18 AM
 
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I would also be more concerned about his comment about the pope, of the reason that it is a very political statement. Political and religious believes should be kept out of the classroom, period.

 

As for the earthquakes...well, considering how media are reporting more and more of them it is an easy enough conclusion to come for unless you actually look up the facts. So, I would not be so worried about that comment. :)

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#7 of 26 Old 10-26-2011, 10:36 AM
 
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Earthquakes make the news when they affect people.  That's as much a function of population density, building standards, and colocation of population centers with tectonically active regions than earthquake frequency.

 

Friday had an earthquake with twice the energy than Sunday's eq in Turkey (7.4 vs 7.2 is ~ a factor of two in energy).  Friday's didn't make the news because it was in the middle of the S Pacific.

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#8 of 26 Old 10-26-2011, 10:39 AM
 
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huh... i just saw this... maybe there's a misinterpretation of this as news plus the turkish earthquake?  http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/141661518/dont-mix-the-ecclesiastical-with-the-economical?sc=fb&cc=fp    apparently the pope released a document calling for a "world financial authority."


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#9 of 26 Old 10-26-2011, 12:27 PM
 
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That really would depend on whether the school is a private catholic school or not.  In public, charter, or non-religious private schools I would expect that my child would not hear about religion unless she chooses to take a religious education class through a church.  I would be irked enough to write an e-mail asking about it and if I didn't get a good response I would be willing to push for no religious education in the classroom by going as far as I needed to go with my request.  If it was a private catholic school it wouldn't bother me because it is one of the beliefs within that religion (even if it is a fringe belief held by ultra-conservative members). 

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#10 of 26 Old 10-26-2011, 02:31 PM
 
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It wouldn't really bother me to be honest. My family is all into conspiracy theory stuff so we'd have a really fun time discussing it after school. 

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#11 of 26 Old 10-26-2011, 08:29 PM
 
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Yes, I would be livid. My second-grade teacher told us that Russians would send people in space without regard to human life (this was 2 years after the Challenger) because "other cultures just don't value life as much as Americans do. If their loved ones die, they don't care because their country is more important." Even then, something about it was odd to me. As an adult, I still remember it and am appalled that she said it. Luckily for her would-be future students, she quit teaching after that year, but I'm sure there were kids who never realized how absurd what she said was. It's vital for teachers of young children not to share their political/religious/social views in a way that makes them a stated fact.


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#12 of 26 Old 10-26-2011, 08:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovesong View Post


As for the earthquakes...well, considering how media are reporting more and more of them it is an easy enough conclusion to come for unless you actually look up the facts. So, I would not be so worried about that comment. :)



I don't think the teacher should be presenting things as facts (if that's what this teacher did) in the classroom without actually looking them up.

 

Neither of these comments would go over well with me.


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#13 of 26 Old 10-26-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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The earthquake thing wouldn't bother me (easy to check as pp noted). One world government by the pope, though? That would indicate that this guy was some flavor of conspiracy theorist and frankly, that's someone I don't want "educating" my kids.
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#14 of 26 Old 10-27-2011, 10:31 AM
 
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I agree with the pp who stated this is a good learning opportunity to distinguish between fact & opinion.
I would not complain to the teacher's supervisor, but, probably for the wrong reasons. I'd be hesitant to complain because it's early in the year & I wouldn't want any anger towards me, on the part of the teacher, inadvertently directed towards my ds.
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#15 of 26 Old 10-27-2011, 03:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post

huh... i just saw this... maybe there's a misinterpretation of this as news plus the turkish earthquake?  http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/141661518/dont-mix-the-ecclesiastical-with-the-economical?sc=fb&cc=fp    apparently the pope released a document calling for a "world financial authority."



Actually, the pope did *not* release this document, but an office at the Vatican that deals with financial issues--it is a report to the UN (the Vatican has a seat on the UN since they are considered an independent country). 

 

There is a huge difference between something the pope does as a spiritual leader, and what the vatican does as a political entity.  The latter is not morally binding for Catholics, and can be debated by people as being right or wrong.  It isn't an officially binding document, though, and *does not* speak for the entire church.

 

Also, as a Catholic I guess I am a bit sensitive to the historical discrimination against Catholics in public schools-- this discrimination was so wide spread and catholic children were basically *banned* from "public" schools that this lead to the formation of Catholic school as private institutions. I guess I am a little sensitive to this, and that might be my thing, but the bit about the pope would *really* bother me. 


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#16 of 26 Old 11-06-2011, 07:16 AM
 
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It wouldn't bother me in the least. If it would have been my son, it would have provoked a ton of questions and an interesting discussion would have followed.


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#17 of 26 Old 11-06-2011, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I've been going back and forth with his teacher about this a bit.

 

His side of the story is that he's trying to get the students interested in the world around them, and he's using current events as one way to do this. He told me he does try to tell them when something is his opinion, and tells them when there is conflicting viewpoints on a subject. He said "my usual end retort is, "What do you think? Find out and make up your own mind."

 

I'm sort of OK with that. The problem, as I pointed out to him is that these 10 year olds do not yet have the research skills to find out this information, and most of them (my son included -- he's particularly gullible (it's a family trait)) don't have the cognitive development to question authorities. I pointedly asked him if he was teaching the students the research skills necessary, and he sort of hedged. THAT bothers me. They are going to do an expository report as their next writing assignment. But he didn't say that they're going to look for conflicting viewpoints. He openly acknowledged that the range of skills in the class is so broad that they probably don't have the cognitive development (seriously they have kids who arrived two months ago in the US and are working at a Kindergarten level to my son, who's pretty much at the top (and while he's bright, he's not brilliant)).

 

I'm particularly bothered because the demographics of the school are such that most children there don't have access to information to "find out" for themselves. When ds came home spouting garbage about there being pyramids on Mars, I made him search the NASA website. We talked about how the higher resolution photos have shown that things were originally thought to be one thing (like the 'face' on Mars) turned out to be natural land formations. Most kids in our school don't have computers at home (really, we're a very high poverty school with a very high percentage of non-English speaking parents with low education). A lot of kids don't have parents who know where to direct them because the parents themselves have weak education backgrounds. And none of them have the resources to rebut (within 24 hours, like I do) the claim that "Cairo" means "Mars", and isn't it weird that Cairo is in Egypt where the pyramids are, and people think they've found pyramids on Mars, especially since it's not clear how the Egyptians could have built the pyramids with the technology of the time?

 

All I really achieved was ticking my son off because I'm "making all this stuff not cool anymore". eyesroll.gif I don't mind the teacher raising controversial topics, but I do mind that the teacher's saying these sorts of things with students with weak skills (ds' class seems to be particularly weak this year, which I'm kind of grumpy about for another reason), while at the same time they don't have time in their day to get the skills they need to do the research.

 

I did get his attention, at least, and made him think. I don't think he's had a parent in long time who's questioned him in terms of the kids' cognitive development. I think  he doesn't know what to do with me!

 

 

(And for those that are interested: Cairo, in Egyptian Arabic isn't Cairo but "'alqaahira', which means 'the conqueror', and the root /q-h-r/ means 'to subject, to subjugate, conquer, vanquish, defeat, subdue, overwhelm, force, compel, coerce' etc." (quoting my Arabic speaking linguist colleague). Since Mars is the "god of war" I suppose there could be a connection, but it's pretty tenuous. Furthermore, most people refer to Cairo as "misr" which technically means Egypt, but is used in the same sense that people say "Washington declared today..." for the US. They add a qualifier (Misr the capital) if they need to specify the city. Add to that the fact that Cairo was founded long after the pyramids were constructed, and that there are enough workers villages around the pyramids to suggest that a gazillion workers worked on the pyramids -- none of this "woo woo" stuff is true.)

 


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#18 of 26 Old 11-06-2011, 02:40 PM
 
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Wait, what?  Did this teacher also propose the idea that there are pyramids on Mars?

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#19 of 26 Old 11-06-2011, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I believe that the pyramids on Mars idea came up in a film that they saw, and the class talked about it. But the teacher didn't say "That's ridiculous!" Hence my foray into NASA and Arabic linguistics.

 

 


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#20 of 26 Old 11-06-2011, 10:26 PM
 
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aaaaah now that you explained the whole context - yes i would be mad too. (we have the opposite experience of school than you. still public but entry only through entrance exam + rich parents - which makes it hard for poor parents - so the skill and discerning skill is built in - which is why had that situation happened in our school, i wouldnt be so upset) 

 

i am glad you brought it up and made the teacher think.


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#21 of 26 Old 11-07-2011, 09:45 AM
 
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I can think of a wide variety of topics to bring to 5th graders to make them think that don't require giving scientifically faulty information as fact and challenging students to think and research on their own, particularly without those research skills or tools.  Anything from a debate on paper towels vs washing cloth rags (paper generation and transport but providing timber jobs vs water use and personal labor) to War on Terror ( wades into politics, but kids at that age can consider the risks of traveling vs TSA privacy issues vs fighting wars abroad for security here). 

 

Suggesting topics that are not scientifically defensible is not making them think.  It's giving kids faulty information and hoping they'll figure it out.  Honestly, given the conversation you related, it sounds like he's covering for himself in response to getting caught.

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#22 of 26 Old 11-07-2011, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can think of a wide variety of topics to bring to 5th graders to make them think that don't require giving scientifically faulty information as fact and challenging students to think and research on their own, particularly without those research skills or tools.  Anything from a debate on paper towels vs washing cloth rags (paper generation and transport but providing timber jobs vs water use and personal labor) to War on Terror ( wades into politics, but kids at that age can consider the risks of traveling vs TSA privacy issues vs fighting wars abroad for security here). 

 

Suggesting topics that are not scientifically defensible is not making them think.  It's giving kids faulty information and hoping they'll figure it out.  Honestly, given the conversation you related, it sounds like he's covering for himself in response to getting caught.

 

yep, I agree totally. From what ds has been reporting, the teacher's been a bit more factual lately. They talked about an asteroid that's going to pass near earth tomorrow, but there was no hype. They talked about the earthquake in Oklahoma, and the fact that even some people in Wisconsin could feel it.

 

I like your ideas about giving the students issues to discuss that can be researched and may well suggest it to the teacher. But if I hear another story like they spun for Cairo, I'm going to blow my top.

 


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#23 of 26 Old 11-08-2011, 01:43 PM
 
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If the teacher does want to introduce more extreme ideas, *he* shouldn't be doing it, but with unreliable sources. The kids can evaluate a credible source vs. one that is questionable, but that doesn't sound like what they are doing. 

 

We spend a lot of time talking about sources of information, and my 5th grader really digs it.  But the teachers should be referring to sources, not interjecting his own ideas/ or having the ideas coming from him.


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#24 of 26 Old 11-08-2011, 02:01 PM
 
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As far as the earthquakes, there has been some what of an uptick in activity. That is pretty easily backed up with geological info. That being said, the science has shown that the weather and geological activity are cyclical. If you look at cores taken from large ice bergs, there is evidence that the planet has warmed up and cooled down many times. We know from historical records that there have been other periods of high volcanic activity.

I'd be ticked by the religious comment. Unless you are in a private religious school, the discussion about religion should remain a sensitive thing. I am fine with religion being discussed in world history and social studies classes, but political views being thrown in isn't okay.

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#25 of 26 Old 11-08-2011, 02:30 PM
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My concern about the Pope comment is that not only is it objectively untrue, it could contribute to the creation of a hostile atmosphere for Catholic students at the school.  I would absolutely take that to the administration.

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#26 of 26 Old 11-10-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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Actually I think what the teacher is doing is fine. Even at 5yr old I am exposing him to  opinion vs. fact, illogical vs, logical thinking, how to sift through ideas to find sound reason and fact. One of my biggest beefs with public school is they tend to cultivate one way of looking at things. It is very good for children to learn to think outside the box. IMO, 10 yr olds more then old enough to start developing more critial thinking skills. But I do agree that the children should be given the resources to be able to research the topics. Neither the earthquake, Mars or Pope topic would bother me.

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